Project Team

Principal Investigators

sherylSheryl Reimer-Kirkham, PhD, RN

Project Lead

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Sheryl Reimer-Kirkham is Professor of Nursing at Trinity Western University, Canada.  Her research is in the area of plurality and equity in healthcare, focusing on the intersections of religion, spirituality, race, class, and gender.  She has published extensively on critical perspectives such as postcolonial theory, and is co-editor of Religion, Religious Ethics, and Nursing (Springer 2012).  She is co-Director of Trinity Western University’s Centre for Equity and Global Engagement, and a founding member of the Religion in Canada Institute.

sonyaSonya Sharma, PhD

Co-Project Lead

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Sonya Sharma is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Kingston University London (KUL), UK. A central theme of her research has been how religion is situated amid the ordinary concerns of everyday life, encountered and expressed in social contexts, relationships and identities. She has been involved on projects that have examined experiences of religion within institutional settings such as universities and healthcare, and the lateral shaping of religious practices between sisters. She is co-author of Christian and the University Experience: Understanding Student Faith (Bloomsbury 2013) and co-editor of Women and Religion in the West: Challenging Secularization (Ashgate 2008) and Religion, Equalities and Inequalities (Routledge 2016).

Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Associate

s200_melania-calestaniMelania Calestani, PhD

Research Associate

Melania is an anthropologist with postgraduate experience in social sciences and health services research. She is a Research Associate at Kingston University London (KUL), UK. Her main interests include issues related to well-being, faith and morality. She has carried out research on cultural and social constructions of well-being and health, with a particular focus on spirituality and religion. In particular, by exploring the interplays between culture, health, spirituality and religion, she has considered the link between health, ethics and morality. She is interested in the accommodation of different religious and non-religious beliefs in healthcare settings, and the impact that spiritual care can have on patients’ healing experiences as well as on their definitions of well-being/happiness.

rachelRachel Brown, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Rachel Brown is the Postdoctoral Research Fellow for the Canadian research site. She completed her PhD in Religion and Culture at Wilfrid Laurier University, and has an expertise in qualitative research methods, religion in the public sphere, food and migration. During her doctoral research she conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork in North African Muslim communities in Paris and Montreal, exploring how members of minority immigrant communities create, maintain, and present their religious, cultural and transnational identities through their foodways in highly secular contexts. For this work she received a Joseph Armand Bombardier CGS from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Site Principal Investigators

The Rev’d Dr Christina Beardsley

Knowledge Broker & Site Principal Investigator 

Christina Beardsley is Knowledge Broker (& Site Principal Investigator) for the London, UK research sites. She worked as a chaplain for fifteen years. Educated at Sussex University (BA in Religious Studies), St John’s College, Cambridge (PhD in Victorian religion), Westcott House, Cambridge (ordination training), and Leeds University (MA in Healthcare Chaplaincy), Christina was in parish ministry prior to becoming a chaplain. She has published articles on chaplaincy-spiritual care, and is a Visiting Lecturer in Healthcare Chaplaincy at St Mary’s University, Twickenham.

Christopher de Bono

Site Principal Investigator 

Christopher E. De Bono, PhD, is Site Investigator for the Vancouver, Canada research sites. He is a Roman Catholic pastoral/practical theologian with specialized clinical training in both Spiritual Care and Clinical/Organizational ethics.

Research Staff

Brenda L. Smith, BSN, RN

Research Coordinator

Brenda Smith is a MSN graduate student at Trinity Western University. She joined the prayer project as research coordinator in 2015. As a precursor to the Prayer as Transgression? project, Brenda participated in data collection and analysis for a study that explored prayer in residential health care settings.  In addition to graduate studies and research work, Brenda is an independent occupational health nurse (OHN) consultant with a practice focused on the health management of the worker afflicted with substance use and concurrent disorders.  She has a special interest in the role of spirituality in substance use disorder treatment and recovery.

sandraSandra Graham, MSN, RN

Research Associate

I am a registered nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the University of Saskatchewan.  My clinical background has been both diverse and interesting – various areas of public health nursing, midwifery, genetic counselling, telehealth and quality management.  I completed a Master’s of Science in Nursing at Trinity Western University in 2015 with a thesis on therapeutic clowns and the art of relationship. The prayer project is a great opportunity for me to hone my research skills in two areas of interest– prayer and healthcare.

256x256Kyla Janzen, MSN, RN

Research Associate

256x256Kelly Schutt, BSN, RN

Graduate Research Assistant


Lori Beaman, PhD

University of Ottawa

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Paul Bramadat, PhD

University of Victoria

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Sylvie Collins-Mayo, PhD

Kingston University London

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Andrew Todd, PhD

Cardiff University

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